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Pudge smacks eighth spring homer

Pudge smacks eighth spring homer

at Lakeland, Fla.
Tuesday, March 25

Astros at the plate: Lance Berkman singled and doubled for two RBIs and Hunter Pence singled and scored twice as Houston scored six times over the first three innings. Michael Bourn had a hit, a run, an RBI and two stolen bases in the evening.

Tigers at the plate: Ivan Rodriguez hit his eighth home run of the spring to start Detroit's comeback in the third inning. Carlos Guillen tripled in two runs in the fourth before the Tigers surged ahead with a four-run sixth. Jacque Jones added a single and two RBIs. Deik Scram hit a walk-off single in the ninth.

Astros on the mound: Starter Chris Sampson allowed four runs on five hits over 3 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 9.17 for Spring Training, before leaving with a right hip injury, after getting hit with a batted ball. Runelvys Hernandez followed with 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief.

Tigers on the mound: Justin Verlander felt out of sync mechanically in his final start of the spring, and it showed with five earned runs and eight hits allowed over three innings. Jason Grilli relieved him with two perfect innings, lowering his ERA to 2.63.

Grapefruit League records: Astros 12-15-1, Tigers 13-12-3.

Up next for the Astros: The Astros will host their final game of the 2008 Grapefruit League season on Wednesday when they welcome the Cleveland Indians to Osceola County Stadium for a 1:05 p.m. ET game. The contest will feature two aces: Houston's Roy Oswalt and Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia. Oswalt is expected to scale back from his 100-pitch outing five days earlier in anticipation for Opening Day. The right-hander will likely throw 85 pitches in his final Florida tuneup.

Up next for the Tigers: Dontrelle Willis will make his final start of the spring on Wednesday, when the Tigers visit the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at McKechnie Field. About half of Detroit's regulars are expected to make the trip, including Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Gary Sheffield and Jones.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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